Morton’s neuroma is a condition whose symptoms include a numbness, tingling, or tenderness sensation in the ball of the foot. In some cases, the patient may experience pain or a burning sensation that spreads out to the toes. As the condition worsens, shoes become uncomfortable and sometimes even unbearable. Individuals suffering with Morton’s neuroma often complain of “pins and needles” in their feet that tend to come and go depending on the type of footwear they have on or the activity they’re doing at the time.
How to detect Morton’s Neuroma
Morton’s neuroma is normally diagnosed in women aged 18-85. In fact almost 90% of cases are from females and is largely due to the type of footwear they choose to wear. However, if you feel as though you constantly have a stone in your shoe that’s digging in the ball of your foot, but no stone can be found, the chances are that you have Morton’s neuroma and you should see a podiatric physician.
What causes it?
There are various factors that may give rise to Morton’s neuroma including one or more of the following:
- Occupational hazards: Those who are on their feet a large portion of the day because of the job they do are among those who complain most of neuromas. Those who work on ladders or spend a lot of time on their knees are also at risk of this problem.
- Abnormality in foot mechanics: This includes a pronated foot. Abnormalities in foot mechanics cause extra stresses on parts of the foot, including the nerves. These problems are often genetic so if you know the condition runs in the family it may be worth getting yourself checked out.
- Previous trauma to the foot: Those who have experienced previous foot trauma are more susceptible to a neuroma developing where that injury was.
- Inappropriate or ill-fitting footwear: Narrow, tight, or ill-fitting shoes can cause havoc on the foot. They restrict motion and cause excessive pressure around the nerves. High-heeled shoes are particularly bad as they increase pressure on both the toes and the ball of the foot.
What treatments are available?
There are many treatment options available, depending on how severe the problem is. In many cases, properly fitting shoes and good foot care can be enough to get you on the mend. Other treatments include physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDS), and ultrasounds. Failing that the next step would possibly be to try injectable steroids to reduce the inflammation and pain. When the problem doesn’t go away with conventional treatments, then surgery may be the only option and would typically involve excision of the involved nerve mass to relieve the pain. Some patients report a permanent numbness after the procedure where the neuroma once was, but most agree this is better than the pain they were experiencing beforehand.
If you do spot a neuroma or what looks like it could be the start of one then visit a podiatric physician immediately. These things won’t go away or get better on their own and the longer you leave them the worse they will get.
How to prevent neuromas
When it comes to neuromas, prevention is the key and the easiest way to do that is to avoid the things that cause them, such as ill-fitting shoes. If you do discover that the condition runs in the family and you aren’t sure whether you’re affected by it, then visiting a podiatric physician who will soon put your mind at rest.